Putting the madness in March! No. 3 seed Gonzaga clings to booking his ticket to an eighth straight Sweet 16 appearance … but TCU’s poor pace breaks the hearts of punters in Las Vegas
An intense back-and-forth contest ended in favor of the Gonzaga Bulldogs of Spokane, Washington, who held on to beat TCU 80-73.
The ‘Zags’ advance to the Sweet 16 for the eighth straight time since the 2015 NCAA Tournament (2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID).
Forward Drew Timme led the way for Gonzaga, adding 28 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one block.
Bettors were stunned after a last-second shot from TCU’s Damion Baugh to make it 84-81.
The punters sweated the final five seconds of the game as Gonzaga led and covered, 82-75, but Rondel Walker hit a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds to go to make it 82-78.
Gonzaga advances to his eighth straight Sweet 16 appearance after beating TCU
Bettors were stunned after a last-second shot from TCU’s Damion Baugh to make it 84-81
Then Gonzaga’s Hunter Sallis was fouled with .7 of a second left, and went on to make both free throws to see the Zags cover again, 84-78.
But every punter’s worst nightmare happened when Baugh picked up the ball inside the logo and let it fly as the buzzer rang. TCU’s triple beat the clock and the difference of 4.5 points.
Scenes in Las Vegas showed players throwing their heads onto their hands at the shot that hit the buzzer.
Rasir Bolton added 17 points for the Bulldogs (30-5), who will play second-seeded UCLA (31-5) in Las Vegas on Thursday. Malachi Smith scored 11 points and Julian Strawther had 10 points and nine rebounds for Gonzaga.
Mike Miles Jr. scored 24 points for the Horned Frogs (22-13). Damion Baugh had 15 points and eight rebounds and Emanuel Miller had 14 points.
Gonzaga made 44.8 percent of his field goal attempts and was 8-for-25 from 3-point range. Anton Watson had 12 rebounds and three steals.
The Horned Frogs shot 44.8 percent from the field, including 9-for-25 from behind the arc.
Baugh’s layup capped a 6-0 run and pulled the Horned Frogs within 73-70 with 2:11 remaining. Timme’s layup gave Gonzaga a five-point lead with 1:43 remaining, while Strawther and Watson each split two free throws to put it up 77-70 with 1:01 remaining.
JaKobe Coles hit a 3-pointer with 45.6 seconds remaining to cut TCU’s deficit to four. Bolton hit two free throws with 42.5 seconds left and Timme split two free throws with 32.4 seconds left to give the Zags a seven-point lead and post their eighth 30-win campaign in the past 11 seasons.
Drew Timme (right) led the way for Gonzaga with 28 points, eight rebounds and three assists
Mike Miles scored eight points in a Rush for TCU, to take a 55-50 lead with 12:14 remaining
“We can’t be the team to (botch) this,” Timme said of Sweet Sixteen’s winning streak. ‘It’s just a testament to the coach (Mark Few) and the program that he had. Here we have some dogs and we fight no matter what.
Gonzaga trailed for most of the first half, but showed life early in the second when Bolton hit two 3-pointers and Strawther hit one during a 9-2 run that gave the Bulldogs a 46-45 lead at 15: 52 remaining.
TCU responded with a 10-4 push (Miles scored eight of the points) to take a 55-50 lead with 12:14 remaining.
Gonzaga then exploded with 13 straight points. Bolton converted a three-point play and Smith and Timme knocked down 3-pointers as the Bulldogs took a 63-55 lead with 8:38 remaining.
The Horned Frogs rattled off the next six points with Miller’s basket bringing them within two with 7:20 to play.
Gonzaga’s 13-point push saw them rally to retake the lead and seal the fate of the Horned Frogs.
Of those eight consecutive Sweet 16 berths, Gonzaga made the Elite Eight four times
Smith hit a straight-up 3-pointer with 6:43 to play and Timme scored on a reverse with 4:52 to play to give Gonzaga a 68-61 lead.
Watson’s dunk gave the Zags a 73-64 lead with 3:27 to play.
Miles had 10 points in the first half as TCU led 38-33 at halftime. Timme scored 11 at the half for Gonzaga.
TCU led 25-15 on two free throws by Miles with 7:30 remaining. The Bulldogs then trailed 33-31 after a three-point play by Watson with 2:13 remaining.